The Benefits of Starting from the Bottom in Business

We all know the old saying: to get anywhere in life, you have to start from the bottom and build up. It’s a truthful enough wisdom, but when you’re sorting post in the mail room dreaming of being a big CEO, it can be a little tough to imagine a better future. Still, there are plenty of advantages to starting out as a small fish in a big pond, giving you experience that will mould you into a serious professional by the time you’ve climbed to the top of that ladder.

Climbing the career ladder
photo credit: Alex Proimos

Apply your skills straight out of university

Lots of future financial stars start out on the bottom rung of a business ladder due to their ‘just graduated’ status. For our London School of Business and Finance students, we often tweet likely opportunities to help them get their first break into the industry. By embarking on a graduate scheme, you get to apply your academic skills to business right away, instead of letting your knowledge grow stale while you search for the ‘dream’ – and at this point, fairly unrealistic – senior position.

A small-fry job in the industry you love is a much better step forward than a ‘just for now’ position which offers you no useful experience.

Explore all avenues

Starting from the bottom means that you’re much more likely to experience various facets of the business first-hand, instead of just being limited to one field of responsibility. Many financial companies run entry-level schemes that will see you work in several departments over the course of the first year, an invaluable experience if you are not sure exactly which career strand you prefer. Work placement opportunities can also really help this decision making process, a risk-free way to learn while you’re still in the studying phase.

Keep an eye on social media and job boards for opportunities near you, or contact the Human Resources department at your dream company to see if they have a graduate or internship scheme.

Applying skills and gaining experience at work

Developing empathy

It is often easy for high-flying seniors to take the roles and responsibilities of junior members for granted, especially if they have never had to work the smaller roles themselves. Starting out on the lowest rung ensures that you maintain a level of respect and empathy for every job level you visit on the way up, a skill that will come in handy when managing deadlines and motivation levels.

Empathy is especially important in the financial industry, when even the newest of juniors will be working gruelling hours and dealing with stressful situations.

Bring fresh enthusiasm

When you’re at the entry level, people will forgive your mistakes! This is the best time to ask questions, network till you can network no more and generally throw as much passion as possible into your job.

An employee who shows willingness to work hard, even at the lowest level, is an employee that any business will seek to nurture, train and promote.

Good luck!